In 2017, I started a live video production company for events. For 2 years, I didn’t think much of it until I ran into a friend of mine…
Now, my main thing has always been storytelling workshops for entrepreneurs. I’ve been doing it since 2014 and he knew that. He knew I coach them on how to communicate their business.
As he gets closer, I see he is with another guy. This guy happened to be a public speaking coach who also worked with entrepreneurs.
So you can assume that the most relevant connection between the 2 of us was our coaching.
But then, when my friend introduced us, he said “this is Juan, he does video productions and live streams for events…”
I was shocked.
But as I looked back, it’s clear the mistake was definitely mine.
I, the one that helps entrepreneurs position their business through their message, had positioned myself as a video guy without realizing it.
It would have been ok if that’s what I wanted, but it wasn’t!
I’ve never seen myself as a video creator, actually, I don’t even know how to operate the software we use because my thing is messaging.
That’s why it really hit me when he said that. In that moment, I realized how delicate our positioning is.
As solopreneurs and small business owners, our positioning is one of the biggest assets we have, if not the biggest.
It’s what allows us to charge a premium, and more importantly, it’s one of the key drivers of word of mouth.
And I had messed up with it.
When people meet you or hear about you, if they find you relevant, they are going to file you in their brain.
To do that, they need to label you, categorize you. The most common way to do this is by understanding the problem you can solve for them.
Because we are wired to operate from a place of survival.
So by doing this, they know who to call to help them solve the problem.
What I didn’t realize is that people will update your file as they get new info about you.
And here is where the problem is.
Because the more info they add to your file, the more diluted your message gets, and the less relevant you are to them.
In other words, you become less valuable.
Instead of thinking that now you can help them solve problems A, B, and C, people will believe you no longer offer the old solution.
And if you decide to promote all your solutions, then you will be a generic problem solver, and they will be confused about how you can help them.
Just like you don’t order fish at a steak restaurant, or sushi at an Italian place, people will do the same with you.
Just like you want the heart surgeon to do the heart surgery and not the general practitioner, it’s the same with you.
At the same time, when you offer many services, you also make it hard for people to refer you.
But what about the big companies, they do so many things?
Yes, that’s true, but that’s not how they got big, and second, they still don’t market them all together.
They market them separately.
For example, Procter & Gamble owns Tide (the laundry detergent) and Pringles (the potato chips in a tube).
You don’t see them marketing them together.
Now, you may say that those are very different products. Good, let’s try with another one.
P&G also owns Febreze, the spray that makes clothes smell nice.
Tide and Febreze are used to make your clothes smell fresh. And yet, they still don’t market them together. Instead, they grow brands around each product.
They understand that each product solves a different problem for different consumers. This requires them to have different messages for each of them. So the best way to be effective is to split them.
And how about Disney?
They have the parks, the streaming service, a cruise line, the merch, etc. all under one brand.
Yes, that’s true. But, guess what, that’s not how they started.
But as they grew, they repositioned themselves. Going from cartoons to a family entertainment company. This allowed them to accommodate the bigger spectrum of products under one roof.
So, if you take 2 steps back, you can see that they still solve the same problem. They just solve it in many different ways.
This shows that you may need to update your positioning as you grow. But the secret to growing a freelancing business is to keep it simple.
It’s like an Italian restaurant that wants to sell cooking classes.
They are related, but not necessarily bought by the same people. You don’t normally go to a restaurant and then sign up for classes.
But if they reposition the restaurant as promoters of Italian cuisine or Italian culture, they can now sell you trips to Italy or even Vespa Scooters!
It’s all in the message, but the message is the result of your strategy.
So if you are planning to grow your business by getting more consistent leads, by delivering a better service that makes you stand out, and increase your prices, you need to simplify your business.
Narrow your portfolio of services to 1 solution that focuses on solving 1 problem, for 1 customer.
Do less and you’ll see your business grow.
I know it because when we started with the production company, we did everything!
From Youtube commercials, to interviews, to livestreams, to animated videos, etc.
It was only when I started to eliminate services, that we began to grow. Suddenly more people recommended us, making it easier to sell our services.
So, choose one customer and one problem, and go after that.